Video Game Collecting 101: The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) – Software

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With retro game collecting reaching a near-frenzy of popularity in the past five years, I felt it a good time to introduce a series of articles for those intending to enter this frothing, shark-infested market as they attempted to relive their childhoods and not get ripped off. I’ve been an avid collector of games from almost every retro system since 2011, and these articles are tips and tricks I’ve picked up that I’m sharing to help all you aspiring collectors out there. 

 

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Previous Article: NES Hardware

Now that you’ve figured out which version of the NES to buy, you probably want to pick up a few games. The NES’s library is massive with 826 games (combining licensed and unlicensed) released for the system over its lifespan. The games range from really fun classics and hidden gems all the way to absolute and total garbage which should be avoided at all costs. It’s a daunting task to try and know which games to buy and which games not to, and particularly if you’re getting them at a good price. Good thing you’re reading this!

For this article, I’m going to go over two categories of NES games: those I deemed “essential” (read: the games nostalgic fans of the system will probably want to pick up) as well as “obscure” games. “Obscure” might not actually be that obscure, but it’s a term I’m using to describe games I particularly enjoyed as part of my collection, and suggest you pick up and give a shot. I’ve also broken the games down into various price ranges, so even the most penny-pinching collector can find some good games (both classics and hopefully new ones) from this list.

While I won’t go into detail about how to find games “in the wild” in this article (don’t worry, a “how to find games” article is in the works), be aware that your mileage may vary when it comes to price ranges I use. I’ve taken them from eBay circa Summer 2015, but prices can fluctuate frequently (mostly going up over the past few years). You can use this handy tool to track prices of particular games, which is essentially should you be serious about collecting.

Lastly, should you be tempted to dive into a game you know nothing about (and considering the 800+ NES games, odds are you don’t know about all of them), I’d suggest both reading retro game reviews (either here on Sharkberg, user reviews on Gamefaqs, or other sites such as VideoGameCritic.net) as well as testing the game out on an emulator to be certain you want it. If you’re just collecting for the sake of collecting that isn’t as big a problem, but nothing is more annoying than buying a game and finding out it’s awful.

I tried to sort this list by price, so that should help you know the range of prices for these types of games. Also, I know I didn’t get everything (this list has 87 games), so if you think of other games that should be on here, please comment! 

 

ESSENTIAL NES GAMES


 

Cheap ($15 or less)

 

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Super Mario Bros (1-3)

Price: ~$5-15

Does anything need to be said about these games? Mario 1 is an absolute classic, often one’s first gaming memory. Mario 2 mixed things up with multiple characters, worlds, and weird enemies (and yes, I know it’s not a “real” Mario game, but it’s still awesome). Mario 3 is considered by many to be the best in the series, with tons of secrets, worlds, and power-ups.

Don’t get swindled! These carts are plentiful even though they’re in high demand due to popularity. If you’re paying over $15 for Mario 3 I’d say look elsewhere. Also, I’d suggest trying to grab a hybrid copy of Mario 1 + Duck Hunt, seeing as those are all over the place and you can usually pick them up for pretty cheap.

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Duck Hunt

Price: ~$5

If you have the Zapper, you’re gonna need Duck Hunt. There isn’t a whole lot to it, but it’s a classic light gun game with three entertaining modes. If you can, grab this in the combined Mario 1 cart (or the triple cart with Mario 1 and World Class Track Meet).

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Tetris

Price: ~$5

While most people remember the music from the Game Boy Tetris, this iteration is still a lot of fun. It isn’t multiplayer, though; you’ll have to fork over the big bucks ($~100) for the unlicensed Tengen version of the game if you want to play with a friend.

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Rad Racer 

Price: ~$5

One of the best NES racers, Rad Racer looks cool, plays great (even today!), and has some pretty sweet graphics. You can also play in 3D with Red/Blue 3D glasses! This is also one of Square (as in Square-Enix)’s first games, oddly enough.

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Dragon Warrior

Price: $5-10

The granddaddy of the entire JRPG genre, Dragon Warrior is still a pretty fun little RPG. Nintendo gave it away for free in the US with copies of Nintendo Power back in the day, so copies are everywhere. It’s a bit of a grindfest and there isn’t much in way of story, but for the most basic of JRPGs on the NES you can’t go wrong here.

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Dr. Mario

Price: ~$10

I’m awful at this game, but there’s no denying this classic puzzler is fun. You can also play it two-player, each with different difficulty settings and handicaps, which is the best way to play (and lose, if you are me playing against my wife).

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Zelda 2: Adventures of Link

Price: $15-20

Link’s second outing isn’t as popular, but it’s still a great game. As an action side-scroller with RPG elements rather than a top-down adventure game, Adventures of Link is hard-as-nails but still has fantastic graphics, music, and a cool world to explore. It’s also cheaper than it’s predecessor.

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Ghosts N Goblins

Price: $12-15

Capcom’s super-hard platformer has a great port on the NES (and the SNES and Genesis, but we’ll get to those later). While none of the console iterations are “arcade perfect,” they’re redesigned for the systems they are on and play great. If you’re into spooky platformers and think Castlevania is too easy, check this one out.

 

Pricier ($15-$30)

 

Donkey Kong Classics

Donkey Kong Classics

Price: $15-20

This is a compilation cart of Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr. It’s cheaper than buying the games individually, which is why it is on here. If you need me to tell you why you should own these games, you missed Monkey Week here at Sharkberg and should be ashamed. These are almost perfect arcade ports of the classic games, so grab this double cart and get playin’! (plays best with the NES Advantage)

 

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Kirby’s Adventure

Price: $17

This is one of my favorite Kirby games. It is also the first one to incorporate Kirby’s “power-stealing” ability, which became a staple. It was released late in the NES’s lifespan, meaning it has amazing graphics, very smooth gameplay, and tons of levels. An all-around great Kirby game.

 

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Duck Tales

Price: $18

This game got a resurgence in popularity after the Wayforward remake, but luckily managed to stay reasonably cheap. It’s a platformer where you bounce around as Scrooge McDuck on a pogo stick, gathering riches and exploring large levels. It’s different than most platformers as it’s nonlinear and encourages repeat plays to find all the secrets. Plus the music is rad.
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Metroid

Price: $18-20

There are two label variants for this game, a gray older one that has pixelated Samus, and a yellow re-release one that has a drawn Samus. Both games are identical, though I think the re-release is a little rarer. Anyway, this game is a fun exploration platformer, somewhat similar to Kid Icarus but without the RPG elements. It also has no map (so bust out that pen and paper again) and uses passwords (ugh), but despite that it is still pretty fun.

 

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Kid Icarus

Price: $20

A platformer exploration game with very light RPG elements (in that you buy upgrades), Kid Icarus is an oft-forgotten classic. You’ll need a pen and paper to map out your ascent up the tower, though, so factor that into the cost. Or don’t. Whatever. Still a fun game.

 

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Final Fantasy

Price: $20

Square’s alleged “final game” before they planned on filing for bankruptcy, Final Fantasy is still incredibly fun even to this day. Equipped with a battery to save your progress as well as tons of different ways to play (as you pick your party from the start), this game not only excels at being fun, but also having tons of replayability. Try beating the game with four White Mages and see what happens! One of the best RPGs for the system.

 

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Mega Man 2/3

Price: $20-25 each

Fans will debate forever as to whether Mega Man 2 or 3 is the better game. I’m firmly in the Mega Man 2 camp, but together both games are the absolute best in the series. They’ve also suffered from price inflation over the past couple years, but copies are fairly plentiful and can be found frequently in the wild. These are fun action platformers that aren’t too difficult (Mega Man 2 in particular is pretty easy) but still provide a challenge.

 

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Castlevania

Price: $25-30

One of the best platformers on the system, the original Castlevania excels at just about everything. It’s got the right mix of “Nintendo Hard” while still feeling like a fair challenge. The graphics and music also blow away even games released after its time. Castlevania spawned two sequels, but the third (Castlevania 3: Vampire’ll be Back, aka Dracula’s Curse) is the only one that’s a linear platformer. Dracula’s Curse is also good but unfairly difficult, and usually costs around the same price as the first game.

 

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The Legend of Zelda

Price: $25-30

Prices for The Legend of Zelda have been inflated not due to lack of supply, but the increase in demand. It’s one of the most popular NES games to pick up, so even though it should be worth like $10 considering how many copies there are, its has gone up to almost three times that. Gold carts are more expensive (despite being more plentiful than the gray variant), but regardless of cart color the games are identical.

 

 

Expensive ($30+)

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Punch Out (Mike Tyson’s Punch Out) 

Price: $17, $35

If you get the non Mike Tyson version of this game (which is identical save the final boss is Mr. Dream instead of Tyson), it’s usually a bit cheaper. The Mike Tyson version seems to cost more, though honestly they’re about the same in terms of rarity. This is one of the funnest sports games on the system, and is a a must-have for anyone wanting just a solid NES action game.

 

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Contra / Super C

Price: $30, $25

Contra is a run ‘n gun platformer classic, and a must-have for fans of action shooters. Super C is the sequel and is almost as good, and tends to be a little cheaper. Both games got popular and thus got more expensive, which is a shame.

 

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Dragon Warrior 2-4

Price: $30, $70, $90

The Dragon Warrior sequels didn’t really take off in the US (and 3 and 4 were released late in the console’s lifespan), so they can be a bit pricer to get. They are all, however, much better than the first game, and Dragon Warrior 4 might be the absolute best RPG on the system (though it is also the most expensive in the series). These are great JRPGs, but expect to fork over a pretty penny if you want the higher numbered ones.

 

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Mega Man 1, 4-6

Price: $50-100

If you aren’t getting Mega Man 2 or 3, expect to pay a bit for the rest of the series. and tend to be the most expensive, with 4 and being a bit more reasonable. I have no idea why is so much rarer, but whatever. Of these, I think is the best based on nostalgia alone, and is also a lot of fun. and 5 were a bit lame, though had Skull Man and had Gravity Man so they aren’t a complete wash. If you want the complete Mega Man collection, expect to fork over a couple hundred bucks. However, buying them in a complete set off eBay can sometimes be the cheapest way to grab them all at once.

 

 

 

“OBSCURE” NES GAMES


Cheap ($15 or less)

 

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3D World Runner

Price: $3-5

3D World Runner is an early Square game (yep, the Final Fantasy guys) that is a mix between Rad Racer and Space Harrier. Basically, it’s a 3D platformer where you jump over pits and blast enemies. You can even play it in actual 3D with Blue/Red 3D glasses! Don’t so that, it’s a headache.

Regardless, this game is a lot of fun. It’s a good challenge without being impossible, has some pretty impressive graphics for the NES, and a super catchy tune. It’s one of my favorites on the system, so should you find it in the wild give it a go.

 

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Astynax

Price: $5

Astyanax is an action-platformer with HUGE SPRITES! It also has great graphics, awesome music, and even some cutscenes! Wow! For being relatively unknown, this game is actually pretty fun. Different weapons provide you different magic boosts, and with a slew of magical abilities you have a lot to work with here. While the big sprites do make some of the platforming portions hard, the action is fun throughout.

 

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Kings of the Beach

Price: Under $5

This volleyball game is a blast. Yes, a sports game is on this list, get used to it. This game can be played with up to four players with the Nintendo Four Score, which is by far the funnest way to play it. Two player vs the CPU in championship mode is also great. It takes a little while to get used to the controls, but once you do you’re in for a really fun beach volleyball time. Seriously, check this one out. Way fun.

 

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Marble Madness

Price: $5-10

A game about rolling marbles down isometric stages to beat the clock. The arcade version had a rollerball, this one uses the controller. Despite sounding boring, it’s a lot of fun (and a lot better than the Genesis version, which has awful music). This is one of my favorite time-waster NES games, and even though it has only a handful of levels the later ones are quite hard!

 

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Double Dragon (1, 2)

$5-15

Arguably the best beat-em-up games on the platform, Double Dragon 1 and are awesome games, the second especially. The first doesn’t have co-op (instead opting for a crappy fighting game mode), but the second does and it’s greatDouble Dragon 2 is the one to pick up if you can only get one, and be sure to avoid the third game, as it’s trash.

 

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Tiny Tune Adventures

Price: $7-10

Do you like Mario 3? Do you wish Mario 3 were…harder? And starred Buster Bunny? If you said yes to these things, Tiny Tune Adventures is the game for you. It’s a fairly standard platformer, with great graphics and solid music. The downside is it’s hard (one hit deaths), but that doesn’t spoil the fun too much. It has a sequel on the NES, but that one isn’t quite as good.

 

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Star Tropics / Zoda’s Revenge

Price: $8-12

Star Tropics (and its sequel, Zoda’s Revenge) are Zelda clones (sort of) that were only released in North America. They combine the overhead puzzle/action elements of Zelda (except instead of a sword, you have a yo-yo) with an overworld map and some character interactions. There’s a lot of great humor here too, and some meta-level jokes. I personally prefer Zoda’s Revenge as it’s a bit easier (and you time travel!), but both are excellent, under-appreciated Zelda style games with a heavy puzzle emphasis.

 

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Street Fighter 2010

Price: $8-12

Don’t be fooled: this game has nothing to do with the fighting game series of the same name. Instead, this is a rad action platformer where you play as Ken (no relation) on a quest to punch the crap out of everything. In 2010! THE FUTURE…er, actually that’s the past now, huh? Well, whatever. It’s a bit difficult, but still a fun and fairly solid action platformer from Capcom.

 

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Ninja Gaiden (1,2)

Price: $8-12

Do you like ninjas? Do you also like dying a lot? The Ninja Gaiden games are famous for being very difficult action platformers. Honestly, they aren’t as bad as everybody makes them out to be (at least the game feels mostly fair, unlike some NES games), and are a ton of fun. I’d personally suggest the first game, but the second one is fun too. The third, however, is a bit pricey (~$50), so stick with its predecessors.

 

Blaster Master

Blaster Master

Price: $9

This game is pretty polarizing in my opinion. It’s a hybrid car platformer/exploration game mixed with overhead run-n-gun sections. Overall, the game is really cool and has great music and graphics, it’s just really, really hard. It also has no save system at all, which is an amazing oversight. Still, this game’s a classic for a reason.

 

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Blades of Steel

Price: Under $10

There’s fierce debate as to whether this or Nintendo’s Ice Hockey is the best hockey game on the system, but it’s clear which camp I’m in from this article. Blades of Steel is a freaking great time, especially competitive. It’s arcade fast, easy to learn the controls of, and plus you can get in fights! Even if you don’t like sports games, Blades of Steel is a ton of competitive fun.

 

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Jackal

Price: $10

Grab a friend, jump into your jeeps, and blow up everything in this co-op run-n-gun. While it shares gameplay with Capcom’s Commando, I prefer Jackal for it’s easier gameplay and more expansive world. It does have a lot of slowdown and sprite flicker, especially two player, but for a great co-op NES game you can’t do much better.

 

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Bionic Commando

Price: $10

Who needs jumping? Not Bionic Commando, that’s who! They remade this game on the Xbox 360/PC/PS3/whatever, so if you want an easier version go play that. But for us purists, this NES version is a ton of fun. Great music, great gameplay, and a robotic extendo-arm await you.

 

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Base Wars

Price: $10 

There’s roughly seventeen billion baseball games on the NES, but Base Wars is the only one where your team is ROBOTS. The robots have different stats and a variety of different parts and powers, so making the ultimate team is almost as fun as playing the actual game. The game itself is also a lot of fun, and your robots can even robot battle! If you want a serious baseball game, I guess Baseball Stars is worth getting (~$5-10), but this is my favorite baseball game on the system.

 

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Little Nemo: The Dream Master

Price: $10

Another obscure Capcom game, this one based on a failed anime movie of the same name. In this platformer, you go to dream world and use candy to drug animals and steal their powers. Yep, that’s the game. It’s great fun and the ability to change between different animals is cool.

 

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Adventure Island (1,2)

Price: $10, $20

These are actually ripoffs of the original Wonder Boy games made by Sega on the Master System, but who cares? The first game is a hard-as-nails, one-hit-death action platformer. It’s fun, but tough. The second game is much better, adding an overworld and tons of cool dinosaurs to ride. The third game is also really good, but it’s pricey ($45+), so keep that in mind.

 

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Batman

Price: $10-15

Most movie tie-in games are crap. This one, however, is rad! Based on Tim Burton’s Batman film, it plays like a mix between Ninja Gaiden and Shatterhand, both of which are awesome games. You can climb walls, use bat-gadgets, and become Batman. It’s also very difficult, but a fair difficulty that’ll keep you coming back for more.

 

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Shadowgate / Deja Vu

Price: $10-15 each

Do you like adventure games? Both Shadowgate and Deja Vu are point-and-click games ported from a series of adventure games on the original Apple Macintosh. Shadowgate is a more medieval style game, while Deja Vu is straight up film noir. Both have excellent writing and tons of cool puzzles and places to explore. The point and click also actually works well on the NES, unlike some other games (cough King’s Quest V cough). There is a third game in this collection, Uninvited, which is horror themed but costs a bit more ($30-40)

 

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TECMO Bowl/TECMO Super Bowl 

Price: $10, $20

Arguably the only football game I’ve played and enjoyed, Tecmo Bowl is a ton of fun. It plays fast and furious, and you can even play competitively. The first game does have some balance problems, though, so the sequel tends to be a bit better. Super Bowl does cost more, though, so if you’re not willing to spend a lot on a sports game, stick with the first one.

 

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Life Force

Price: $15

Called Salamander in Japan, this is a Gradius knock-off. The reason Lifeforce is on this list and not Gradius is I like Lifeforce a ton better. It’s weirder, has hybrid horizontal and vertical stages, and the Konami code yields much better results. This is probably my favorite space shooter on the system.

 

 

Pricier ($15-$30)

 

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Crystalis

Price: $15-20

Released later in the NES’s lifecycle by SNK, Crystalis is like Secret of Mana only on the NES! Also I like it better! Come at me, fanboys!

Anyway, it’s a great top-down action-rpg, with tons of weapons to find and equip and various types of magic to use. It has some of the smoothest movement on the system (no grid-locked movement here!) and equally fun combat. Overall, this is a very “hidden gem” of a game, and I’d suggest grabbing it if you find it in the wild.

Also, the Japanese title for the game is “God Killer.” Why does Japan get the best names?

 

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Gun.Smoke

Price: $15-20

A weird mix between an arcade SHMUP and a run-n-gun, but in the wild west! Gun.Smoke (yes, the period is part of the name) is the best excuse to buy a turbo controller out there, and also is a ton of fun. A shoots right, B shoots left, and both shoot forward. It takes a little to get used to it, but for shmup style games they don’t get much funner.

 

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Bubble Bobble

Price: $20

This should probably have been on the “essentials” list, but hey…you’ll live. Bubble Bobble is an arcade port of the same game, where you control two dinosaurs using the POWER OF BUBBLES to murder enemies and advance up floors. You can play it co-op, which is a blast! The only thing I didn’t like was the limited continues, but that’s what Game Genie is for. A great co-op arcade game.

 

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Nightshade

Price: $25

I honestly am not sure what this game is. It’s kind of an adventure game, kind of a fighting game, kind of a silly joke superhero game, kind of a film noir…the list goes on. It has great graphics and a really weird sense of humor and strange point-and-click controls, but overall I think I like it.

 

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GI Joe (1, 2)

Price: $30, $25

Both these games are really fun. The first one Real American Hero, is a bit harder to find, but The Atlantis Factor is just as good and is cheaper. Both are multi-character action platformers, where each character powers up individually and you can switch between them in stages. It’s a ton of fun and a great action shooter alternative to Contra.

 

Expensive ($30+)

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Shadow of the Ninja

Price: $40-50

If playing Ninja Gaiden co-op sounded great, along with a rad ninja chain attack, Shadow of the Ninja is for you. It’s basically a better Ninja Gaiden (in my opinion) with some great graphics, levels, and controls. Plus, co-op! That’s pretty nuts.

 

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Shatterhand

Price: $45-50

This is my favorite action platformer on the NES, by far. You play a badass who just punches everything. Robots? Punch em. People? Punch em. Walls? Punch those too. You can get a little drone buddy to either punch more or shoot stuff, which isn’t as good as punching. You get to pick your stage like Mega Man, but since you don’t get any powerups besides YOUR FISTS you can do them in any order. The platforming is responsive, the levels extremely well designed, and the game overall is phenomenal. It’s too bad YouTube discovered this game a while back, and now prices have skyrocketed.

 

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Power Blade

Price: $45-50

I have no idea why this game got so expensive. It’s sequel, Power Blade 2, is one of the priciest games on the NES ($500+). It’s a decent action-platformer from the guys who made Shatterhand, except this time you have a boomerang. I think it’s a fun time, but honestly only if you can get it for less than eBay prices.

 

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Kick Master

Price: $65

Kick Master was a game I picked up on a whim from a record store. I’m glad I grabbed it! Basically, you run around in an action platformer style kicking the crap out of everything. It’s like Shatterhand, but with kicking instead of punching. I love it! It’s too bad it got expensive, though, but it’s well worth it.

 

 

OTHER RANDOM NES GAMES


Gun Games (that aren’t Duck Hunt)

 

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Hogan’s Alley

Price: Under $5

This is honestly a pretty dull shooting game, but you gotta take what you can get. You can either shoot bad guys in a town (avoiding shooting innocents), shoot them in a police line-up, or shoot a can into a hoop. It’s a decent light gun game, but not the best.

 

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To The Earth

Price: Under $5

In this game you are flying through space, and then you shoot aliens and incoming missiles. The problem is it takes forever for anything to show up, and when you die you start all the way over. The goal is to go through the solar system and make it to Earth, which is actually not an easy task. If it weren’t for the slow wind-up, I’d say this is a good shooting game. Instead it’s just kind of dull.

 

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Gotcha! The Sport

Price: Under $7

An LJN paintball game that isn’t horrible, but also isn’t exactly…great. It’s your typical arcade shooter, as you advance across an area and enemies pop out and you blast them. It’s a decent light gun diversion.

 

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Freedom Force

Price: $7-10

This game is actually pretty fun. You shoot terrorists in a variety of mission in an arcade-style shooting game. Of all the light gun games out there, I think I like this one the best, with the exception of maybe Duck Hunt.

 

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Gumshoe

Price: $10

Most people don’t know this game exists. Gumshoe is a platformer where your character moves automatically. You shoot him to make him jump (really) and also shoot stuff that’s heading towards him. That’s the game. It sounds kind of interesting, but in execution it’s pretty weak. Again, get if you just want games to use with your gun.

 

More Puzzle Games

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Klax

Price: $7

A Tengen game, Klax is a fun puzzler where you catch rolling Tic-Tacks and try to line up rows, columns, or diagonals in three. You can play it multi-player and each stage is objective based (really) which adds a twist on the whole thing. I personally prefer the Genesis version, but this one’s fun too.

 

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Yoshi

Price: $5-10

This is an interesting puzzle game that reminds me a bit of Tetris Attack. Kind of. Basically, you can swap two of the four platforms that are next to each other on the bottom. Stuff falls from the top. Match two and it explodes, or drop a top Yoshi egg above a bottom Yoshi egg to clear a row. It’s surprisingly fun and nobody played it.

 

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Yoshi’s Cookie

Price: $5

Actually a different game from Yoshi, this one involves chef mario moving cookies around. Line up two to clear them, with the goal to fill up a cookie meter on the right (or clear the board). I’m awful at this game, but some people really enjoy it.

 

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Loopz

Price: $5

I hate Loopz. I don’t know why I put it on here, but it’s a puzzle game and some people might enjoy it. Basically you use pieces on a board to make complete circuits, and that causes them to be removed. The bigger the piece, the more points. If you have half a brain, you can get stuck in an endless boring loop (ha ha!) and play for hours accomplishing nothing. It’s bad, but it exists. There you go.

 

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Pipe Dreams

Price: $7

If you played the hacking minigame in Bioshock, this is literally the same thing. Using pipe parts (of which there is more variety here than Bioshock), connect two sections of a pipeline together. It’s more fun than it sounds and is surprisingly addicting. It’s better than Loopz because it has a goal. Screw Loopz. 

 

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Wario’s Woods

Price: $20

A fun puzzle game where you play as Toad. Stuff falls from the top, and you try to line up colors. Once you have a big line, blow it up with a bomb! But watch out: for some time Wario will drop garbage on you instead of bombs, because he’s a jerk. It’s a weird game but a lot of fun. The SNES version is identical except it has better graphics.

 

Games that are actually kind of bad but you should get anyway

 

 

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Dynowarz

Price: $5-10

This is a personal gem of mine, that I think people should get because of the absurd story and boxart. Oh, it isn’t a very good game, but it’s hardly the worst, and as a sort of fun bad game to own you could do far, far worse. Plus, you get to punch dinosaurs in space, so sign me up.

 

 

 

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Bad Dudes

$5-7

“Ninjas have kidnapped the president. Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the president?”

This beat-em-up platformer isn’t good by a long shot, but it does have some silly NES moments of bad dialogue and awful digitized “I’M BAD!” voicework. Good for the laughs.

 

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Karnov

Price: $5-10

KARNOV IS A REAL RUSSIAN HERO. KARNOV SPIT FIRE, PUNCH DINOSAURS, SLAY MONSTERS! KARNOV TURN BLUE WHEN HIT, CLIMB LADDERS, GROW WINGS AND FLY! KARNOV’S PLATFORMER NOT BEST, BUT TRUE RUSSIAN SPIRIT! VODKA PUTIN BEARS!

 

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The Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout

Price: $5-10

Another game people say is bad, I say is actually fun. While not the most complex platformer, I’d say it’s only a hair (or hare) worse than the Tiny Tunes NES game, and that game was really good. Birthday Blowout is a solid platformer that, once you master the attacking controls, is a lot of fun. It’s only downside is it is pretty easy and fairly short.

 

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Dragon Power

Price: $8

This is the first Dragonball game released in the US, but since nobody knew what Dragonball was at the time, they put some generic karate guy on the cover. For some reason I find this hilarious, and that’s why I got the game. It’s a top-down action game that’s mediocre in every regard, but I honestly had a good time with it. The music is the same some over and over, though, so be prepared to turn the sound off.

 

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Castlevania 2

Price: $10

Often the “black sheep” of the series, Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest still holds a lot of nostalgia for a lot of people. It’s not a linear platformer and instead is a sort of exploration RPG similar to Zelda 2, but without an overworld. Make no mistake: this isn’t a very good game, but if you’re going to have all the Castlevania games you might as well pick it up. It also isn’t completely awful if you use a guide.

 

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Price: $10-15

The first Konami/Ultra Ninja Turtle game is one fondly remembered by almost any kid who grew up in the late 80s/early 90s. Also, this game is really bad. A mediocre platformer with tons of unfair levels, added bonus being when a turtle dies he’s gone forever. You should get it because of nostalgia, and never play it because it sucks.

 

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M.C. Kids

Price: $15

This McDonalds game is actually not bad. Yeah, really! While it does have some weird platforming eccentricities, the unique jumping block systems and some genuinely clever level tricks (parts that make you go upside down, for instance) make it a fun game to have. People say it’s bad, I say it’s decent, and plus you can have a game made by McDonalds.

 

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Battletoads

Price: $30-40

This Rare beat-em-up has some sort of weird cult following. Either “ironic” or genuine or something else, it made this game’s price skyrocket. The problem is this game, especially when compared to games like Double Dragon or Sega’s Streets of Rage, kind of sucks. A lot. But hey, then you can finally “Have Battletoads,” so…there’s that.

 


 

 

Did we miss any games? Want more advice on how to fill your collection? Be sure and check out the comments, and stay tuned here at Sharkberg for more information about collecting!

Author: Nathan Major

Spirit Shark: Hammerhead. Retro game collector, true ginger, and SNES fanatic. Goal in life is to become Karnov from the NES game Karnov.

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